Second annual Pride in the Park commemorates Stonewall

Brennan LaBrie blabrie@gmail.com
Posted 6/5/19

Jefferson County Pride is hosting the second annual Pride in the Park Saturday, July 13th at Pope Marine Park. A press release from Jefferson County Pride writes that the event will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, LGBTQ+ Pride, as well as “honoring ourselves, our community and the history of those who came before.”

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Second annual Pride in the Park commemorates Stonewall

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Jefferson County Pride is hosting the second annual Pride in the Park Saturday, July 13th at Pope Marine Park. A press release from Jefferson County Pride writes that the event will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, LGBTQ+ Pride, as well as “honoring ourselves, our community and the history of those who came before.”

There will be a family-friendly variety show featuring music, dancing and more. Last year, there was a professional whistler, according to Eamon Redding of the Jefferson County Department of Health, who also serves on the Jefferson County Pride board and the planning committee for this event. In addition, there will be food and drink vendors and representatives of groups such as the Port Angeles Racial Justice Collective and numerous local churches.

Last year’s inaugural event saw about 1,000 people throughout the day, Redding said. But with more planning and advertising this time around and with the significance of the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, they expect a larger turnout.

The Stonewall Riots were a series of violent demonstrations by members of the LGBTQ community against the New York City Police, who had raided the Stonewall Inn, popular among the LGBTQ community, in the middle of the night on June 28, 1969. This event is widely considered to be the most important event in the 20th century gay liberation movement and one of the biggest sparks of the international fight for LGBTQ rights.

There will be commemorative T-shirts sold both at the event and online at the Jefferson County Pride website. A contest was held to design this year’s T-shirt. People from the ages of 14-19 were challenged to design a shirt that includes the slogan of this year’s Pride in the Park, “Stonewall to the Salish Sea,” or a tie-in to the 50th anniversary of Stonewall. The winning design will be printed on the T-shirt and the artist will receive a $100 cash prize.

Profits from the T-shirts will help fund a center for LGBTQ youth and their allies that Jefferson County Pride is planning to establish at the Port Townsend Community Center.

“Close to 10 percent of youth LGBTQ either contemplate or commit suicide,” said Dawn Darrington, aJefferson County Pride board member. “We want to provide them a safe place they can depend on, where they are supported.”

“It is well known that providing a safe place for youth reduces suicidal ideations and social isolation.” said Redding. “The loss of the Boiler Room was an example of such a location, and with the help of proceeds from this year’s T-shirt sales and donations, JCP hopes to bring another facility to Port Townsend.”

“Since the Boiler Room has been gone, there are lots of resources for youth that have been lacking,” Redding said, adding that they want the center to be a “hardcore resource center where youth can get anything they need. It’s going to be inclusive; it’s going to be for everybody.”

The Rotary Club of Port Townsend has pledged $1,000 to the Jefferson County Pride. People wishing to donate to the project can do so on their webpage under the “Support” tab: jeffersoncountypride.org/support.

Port Townsend’s pride event is just one of hundreds of pride events taking place around the world during the months of June and July. Pride events occur worldwide throughout the year, often corresponding to significant dates in various countries’ LGBT history. Most are held in June, which was designated as the international LGBT Pride Month in commemoration of the Stonewall riots. Some events are a single day and others occur over the course of the month and consist of parades, marches, commemorations, and festivals with music and dancing.

The State of New York has been planning since 2017 to host the largest international pride celebration ever to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, called “Stonewall 50 – WorldPride NYC 2019.” There are over 50 cultural, artistic and educational events scheduled throughout the month, with a large public march, anticipated to be the largest ever, scheduled for June 30.

“Pride is an experience of being free, essentially,” said Redding. “The important thing is that pride still exists, and that it continues to be a safe month to celebrate the LGBTQ community. We bring the community to the public to help the public accept our existence.”

There will also be a public screening of the film “Stonewall Uprising” at the Trinity Lutheran Church at 7pm on June 28th, where the winner of the T-shirt contest will be announced.

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